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Nuclear-powered ammonia production

The potential for nuclear-powered ammonia production is developing fast. Two seperate industrial consortia (Copenhagen Atomics, Alfa Larval & Topsoe, and KBR & Terrestrial Energy) have formed to develop thorium-fueled reactors, and hydrogen & ammonia production is a key part of their plans. Given nuclear electricity dominates France’s energy mix, a grid-connected electrolyser project at Borealis’ fertiliser production plant in Ottmarsheim, France will be one of the first examples of commercial-scale, nuclear-powered ammonia production. And, while capital costs & lead times remain significant, mass production of new technologies and research into flexible power production capabilities are emerging as key to unlocking nuclear-powered ammonia production.

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ExxonMobil’s Slagen terminal to become a low-emissions hub

ExxonMobil, Grieg Edge, North Ammonia, and GreenH will explore options to transform Exxon’s existing Slagen terminal into a production & distribution hub for renewable ammonia and hydrogen maritime fuels. The group has identified the potential to produce 200,000 tonnes of electrolytic hydrogen production per year at the site, as well as distributing 100,000 tonnes per year of renewable ammonia. Exxon’s wider plans for low-carbon ammonia also include two large-scale production hubs (one each in the US and the UK).

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Reflections on the last meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee: the time is ripe for maritime ammonia

To develop sufficient ammonia supply to meet future maritime fuel demands, we face a herculean task. The recent meeting of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 78) gives us an insight into the key next steps to address financial & regulatory challenges. For the first time, MEPC 78 introduced the idea of a “Zero by 2050” goal for global shipping: a steep change in ambition. The use of funds from mechanisms like carbon pricing to ensure a fair, just and equitable transition, the necessity of high-impact investment to drive the fuel transition, and the adoption of new LCA guidelines in the next twelve months were also discussed. The drive & ambition shown at MEPC 78 indicates that the time is ripe for maritime ammonia to position itself as the fuel of choice for the global shipping industry.

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GCMD & DNV: Pioneering Ammonia Bunkering Safety in Singapore

Our latest episode of Maritime Ammonia Insights revealed key details about the Ammonia Bunkering Safety Study currently being undertaken in Singapore. The study is led by the Global Center for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD), with DNV acting as a consulting partner. Lau Wei Jie (GCMD) took us through the high-profile lineup of study partners, and explained how the study aims to develop an extensive technical guideline for ammonia bunkering, similar to TR 56 (which covers LNG bunkering). Dr. Imran Ibrahim (DNV Maritime Advisory), then explained the technical scope of the study, how pilot project sites will be selected, and how the study partners are using previous work from Rotterdam and Oslo to hone their approach. Our audience was eager to understand how this work in Singapore might be applied elsewhere, and keenly awaits the results, which are due for public release in February 2023.

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Building ammonia supply chains into the Port of Rotterdam

The state government of Queensland has signed a new agreement with the Port of Rotterdam to develop an ammonia export supply chain between Australia and the EU. The announcement comes the same week that the Port of Rotterdam authority set a target of supplying industrial centers in northwest Europe with 4.6 million tonnes of hydrogen by 2030 - the vast majority of which will need to be imported. As to the question of when those imports will begin, the Rocky Mountain Institute has released a new report indicating the EU should be ready to receive renewable hydrogen as soon as significant capacity comes online in 2024.

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Green Ammonia Volume Analysis – A Roadmap Towards 2030

Yara Clean Ammonia, together with NCE Maritime CleanTech and with analysis support from DNV, have delivered a volume analysis and roadmap for the use of renewable ammonia in the Norwegian domestic shipping sector. With the right policy levers in place, renewable ammonia can meet and reach beyond the 2030 decarbonisation targets for the Norwegian domestic fleet, reducing emissions by as much as 69%.

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Australia’s first gas-to-hydrogen pipeline transition to feed ammonia production near Perth

APA Group and Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy and Fertilisers (WesCEF) have signed a new MoU to investigate the potential of feeding renewable hydrogen to existing ammonia production facilities in Kwinana, near Perth. Sections of APA’s existing Parmelia Gas Pipeline are being assessed for conversion to carry 100% hydrogen. If successful, the pipeline could become a “pure renewable hydrogen service”. In Kwinana, plans are already underway for multiple newbuild hydrogen & ammonia projects.

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DECHEMA and Fertilizers Europe: decarbonizing ammonia production up to 2030

DECHEMA and Fertilizers Europe recently released a new report detailing how & where the European fertilizer industry can decarbonize leading up to 2030. Technology options for CO2-emission reduction of hydrogen feedstock in ammonia production explores decarbonization pathways including energy efficiency improvements, carbon capture & sequestration, renewable hydrogen feedstock and grid-based electrolysis. It proposes a detailed roadmap towards 19% emissions reduction from the EU fertilizer industry by 2030, and – looking ahead to 2050 – forecasts the almost complete decarbonization of the industry, via zero-carbon electricity generation in the EU and the growth of renewable hydrogen production. With the right policy & regulatory levers in place, Fertilizers Europe believes there is no reason the transition cannot happen faster.

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Closing the Gap for Zero-Emission Fuels

In January 2022, UMAS and the Getting To Zero Coalition (GtZC) released a report with policy options for closing the competitiveness gap between conventional & future maritime fuels. Such measures will be necessary to enable an equitable transition to zero-emissions shipping. So how might these potential policy routes may impact and enable the scaling of maritime ammonia?

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Accelerating green ammonia import plans for Germany

RWE is accelerating plans for a green ammonia import terminal in Brunsbüttel, with facilities to be ready to receive 300,000 tonnes per year as early as 2026. Although the immediate focus for Brunsbüttel is a new LNG import facility, RWE indicates that the ultimate goal is complete conversion of the site to only import “green molecules” like ammonia. Brunsbüttel has already been identified as a likely destination for green ammonia exports from South Australia. And, an ongoing feasibility study by the Australian-German HySupply consortium has released interim results suggesting that shipping costs for Australian ammonia to the EU will be much lower than first thought.